Long live subversive, cutting lyrics couched in pastel-colored, unassuming, melodic pop. But aren't two compilation albums -- even if the second one has the modest superlative-eschewing subtitle "Great Hits" -- in 13 years a bit much? With 19 tracks to the 15 on 1994's Carry on Up the Charts, the intention on Solid Bronze, it would seem, is to be the definitive Beautiful South collection, never mind the squillion-odd people who bought Carry On. Unforgivably, Solid Bronze shares not one, not two, but a whopping seven tracks with its predecessor. Which effectively means you are buying the Morcheeba remix of "The Mediterranean," a couple of other tracks off Painting It Red, the Mama Cass cover "Dream a Little Dream" from the French Kiss soundtrack, a couple tunes from Quench, the one mandatory new song, "The Root of All Evil," and a "rarity," "Pretenders to the Throne." And don't forget the cleaned-up version of "Don't Marry Her." Sure, Paul Heaton is a great songwriter, Jacqueline Abbott and Brianna Corrigan have lovely voices, and every song here is good in its own way, but you can't help thinking of the whole album as an enterprise ironically marked by the cynicism that distinguishes some of the Beautiful South's best songs.
AllMusic Review by Leslie Mathew